A shearing world record attempt in Masterton yesterday was called off after Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia conceded the pace less than half way through.
Te Huia was attempting to break the World solo nine-hour strongwool ewe shearing record of 721, set by Hawke's Bay shearer Rodney Sutton nine years ago.
Around 100 supporters turned out for his record attempt in the Mangarata-Taratahi Ag-Training Centre woolshed near Te Ore Ore, backed up by woolhandlers and woolpressers from Prime Shearing.
While conditions on the day in Masterton were ideal, Te Huia was never able to get on to the required pace of more than 80 an hour.
Going into morning break after 3hrs 45mins, Te Huia had shorn 281 -- 17 shy of the tally at the equivalent stage of Sutton's record in January 2007.
After a short discussion with the four World Sheep Shearing Records Society judges it was decided to call off the attempt, but Te Huia decided to return to the board to shear for the sake of his workers and their big day out.
Experts said a mixture of factors conspired to add to the toughness of the challenge, including on-and-off rain over the previous two days.
Shearing journalist Doug Laing said it was the first official world record attempt hosted in Masterton since the early-70s.
Te Huia expects to return to his Australian base within a week and may contemplate another record on merino sheep, as he did when he set a record on Australia's finewooled finest last February, one of three records he holds.